The 32 Best Glute Exercises for Every Piece of Equipment

The best glute exercises include both heavy barbell lifts and at-home-friendly isolation exercises. Do them both for the best results
Image Credit: Hirurg/E+/GettyImages

Your glutes are kind of a big deal. As the largest muscle group in the entire human body, the gluteals are essential for carrying out daily movements and boosting athletic performance. (And, yes, if you've got some aesthetic goals, building a bigger butt may very well be one of them.)

Your gluteus maximus, alongside your gluteus medius and minimus, attach your thigh bones, or femurs, to your pelvis. There, they extend, rotate and stabilize your hips.

Advertisement

So walking, running, climbing stairs, picking something up off of the floor — basically, any daily or in-the-gym task that involves moving your legs or simply standing on them — requires strong, stable glutes.

Read on for the 32 best glute exercises you can do with your body weight, dumbbells, a mini band, kettlebells or a barbell.

Body-Weight Exercises

Don't own any weights? No problem. Your body weight is actually an excellent tool for building strength. And if you're just learning a new exercise, it's always best to master form with just your body weight before adding load.

Advertisement

These six body-weight glute exercises for beginners from Karlene Call, CPT, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at Life Time Chanhassen, will help you get the job done and master your form. No fussing with equipment required.

Move 1: Air Squat

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Beginner
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Focus on keeping your feet rooted into the ground and your core tight the entire time.
  2. Extend your arms out in front of you and slowly bend your knees as you push your hips back and down toward the floor. Focus on lowering your body as if you were sitting on a chair.
  3. Lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as far as you can comfortably go.
  4. Pause for a moment at the bottom of your squat.
  5. Reverse the motion by pressing through your heels to return to the starting position. As you stand, lower your arms back to your sides.

Body-weight squats are great for working both your glutes and quads,” Call says. “These are also great to incorporate into your workout warm-up as they raise your core temperature.”

Move 2: Lateral Lunge

Skill Level Beginner
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Stand with your feet together and your arms by your sides.
  2. Take a big step to the side with your left foot. Bend your left knee, keeping it in line with your left foot, and send your hips back to sit into a lunge. Make sure your left toes are still facing forward.
  3. Push through your left foot to return to the starting position.
  4. Do all your reps on the left leg before doing the same number of reps on the right leg.

Lateral or side lunges are perfect for training stability and balance, and they target muscles in the glutes and quads, Call says.

Move 3: Reverse Lunge

Skill Level Beginner
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  2. Take a big step behind you with your right foot, and bend both knees until your front thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee is hovering about an inch above the ground.
  3. Drive through your left foot (the front foot) to stand back up and bring your right foot to meet it in the starting position.
  4. Do all your reps on the right leg and then repeat on your left leg or alternate legs with each rep.

“Reverse lunges put a lot of focus on your glute muscles,” Call says. “They also work your hamstrings and put less pressure on your knees compared with forward lunges.”

Move 4: Hip Thrust

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Beginner
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Sit on the floor and place your mid back (mid to lower shoulder blades) against the edge of a bench or box.
  2. Place your feet on the floor about hip-width apart and slightly angled out, depending on what feels comfortable for you.
  3. Squeeze your glutes and push through your heels to lift your hips up toward the ceiling. Maintain a neutral head and spine as you lift.
  4. Lock out at the top of the movement by extending your hips and squeezing your glutes more while tucking your tailbone. Your shins should be vertical and the knees in line with your feet.
  5. Slowly lower your hips down to return to the starting position.

The hip thrust is incredibly effective at working the glutes because it takes out other major muscle groups from assisting with the lift.

Move 5: Single-Leg Glute Bridge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Lie on your back with your arms at your sides, feet flat on the ground and knees bent.
  2. Raise your left foot off the ground. Hold this leg elevated throughout the exercise.
  3. Press into your right heel and raise your hips up, squeezing your glutes.
  4. Reverse the motion and bring the hips back to the ground.
  5. Perform all your reps with the left leg elevated, then switch sides.

The glute bridge is great for building strength, mobility and stability in your butt and hips, Call says.

Move 6: Bulgarian Split Squat

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Activity Body-Weight Workout
  1. Stand a few feet in front of a bench or platform. Rest one foot on top of the bench, box or chair so that your feet are staggered. Keep your hands on your hips or to your sides for balance.
  2. Bend both knees to lower your torso toward the ground as far as comfortable or until your front thigh is parallel to the ground. Lean your torso slightly forward to keep your back from arching.
  3. Straighten your front leg to stand back up. This is 1 rep.
  4. Complete all reps on one leg before switching legs.

This single-leg exercise is an amazing way to target your glutes while building balance and core stability, Call says.

Mini-Band Exercises

"Adding bands to your workout routine will enhance your exercises and wake up dormant muscles that are hard to activate," says Nicole Uribarri, CPT, certified trainer and national program director at bande.

Advertisement

For example, using a mini band can help you reach the smaller glute muscles (the gluteus medius and minimus) that don't always feel the burn when you're doing bigger moves like squats and lunges because your gluteus maximus takes over.

"By adding bands to your lower-body workout routine, you'll trigger the glute muscles to fire more rapidly, and also stabilize your hips and thighs while performing the movements," Uribarri says.

Here are the seven best glute exercises you can do with a mini band; choose a resistance level that feels challenging to you.

Advertisement

Move 1: Banded Glute Bridge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
  1. Lie on your back and loop a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees. Place your feet flat on the ground with your knees bent.
  2. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes, and then press into your heels to drive your hips up toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to the chest.
  3. Focus on pressing your knees out lightly on the band to keep them from caving in.
  4. Pause here for a moment, continuing to squeeze your glutes.
  5. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

Adding a band to your glute bridge engages your gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These muscles are important for stabilizing your hips and femurs when you walk, run or do pretty much any other movement involving your lower body.

Want to add a little extra burn? While you're in a bridge, press out on the band for 10 pulses. Focus more on the pushing-out portion.

Move 2: Banded Lateral Squat Step

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and loop a resistance band around both legs, just above your knees.
  2. Bend your knees and sit your hips back so that you’re in a quarter squat.
  3. Take a small step to the right, pushing out the band.
  4. Step your foot back to hip-width.
  5. Then, take a small step to the left, pushing out the band.
  6. Continue alternating sides with each step.

This move targets the outside of your glutes (mostly the gluteus medius) and is great for hip stability, Uribarri says.

Move 3: Banded Lateral Leg Raise

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
  1. Stand with your hands on your hips and loop a resistance band just above your knees. You can also stand next to a chair or wall so that you can lightly hold onto it for support if you need it.
  2. Transfer your weight to your left leg, keeping a slight bend in your knee.
  3. Lift your right leg out to the side as high as you can.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Do all your reps on one side, then repeat on the other side.

Lateral raises are great for strengthening the hips, and improving range of motion, Uribarri says. “This is especially good for runners who are prone to IT band syndrome or hip and knee injuries that stem from weak glutes and hips.”

Move 4: Banded Clamshell

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
  1. Loop a mini resistance band right above your knees and lie on one side. Stack your legs on top of one another, knees and hips bent at 90 degrees. Engage your core and keep your spine straight (no arching in the low back).
  2. Squeeze your glutes to raise your top knee toward the ceiling, keeping your feet pressed together and your bottom leg anchored into the floor.
  3. Raise your knee as high as you can without letting your pelvis rock forward or backward.
  4. Pause, then slowly lower back to the starting position and repeat.
  5. Do all of your reps on this side, and then switch sides and repeat.

Similar to the side raise, the clamshell targets the glute medius and glute minimus and is great for improving hip stabilization and creating balance in the pelvis, thighs and glutes, Uribarri says.

Move 5: Banded Standing Glute Kickback

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
  1. Loop a mini resistance band just above your ankles and stand with your feet together.
  2. Soften your knees and bend forward slightly at your hips. (You can hold a wall or sturdy piece of furniture for balance if needed.)
  3. While keeping your core tight, use your glutes to kick your left leg back. If you feel your lower back arching, reduce your range of motion until you only feel it in your glutes.
  4. Bring your foot back to the starting position.
  5. Do all your reps on one side, and then repeat on the other side. Or alternate legs with each rep.

When you’re doing this standing glute exercise, make sure to brace your core the entire time, Uribarri says. Otherwise, it’s easy to end up arching your back too much when doing the exercise. The kickback is a small movement, so if you start to feel your back arch, you’re lifting too high.

Move 6: Banded Fire Hydrant

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
  1. Loop a resistance band around your legs, just above your knees, and get into a tabletop position. Your shoulders should be stacked over your wrists, hips over your knees and toes tucked.
  2. Keeping the 90-degree bend in your right leg, slowly lift and open that leg out to the side. Brace your core to keep your hips stable and to prevent your pelvis from opening up to the side.
  3. Slowly lower your leg back down to the starting position.
  4. Do all your reps on this leg, and then repeat on the other leg.

Beyond being a great glute exercise, the fire hydrant also works core stabilization and strengthens the shoulders because it is performed on the hands and knees.

“I recommend this exercise for prenatal clients because it’s easy on the back and not as taxing as lifting, squatting or bending exercises," Uribarri says.

FYI, you can also perform this glute exercise using just your body weight and gravity for resistance.

Move 7: Banded Donkey Kick

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Resistance Band Workout
  1. Loop a mini band around the arches of both feet and get into a tabletop position with your toes curled under and feet flexed, your knees directly under your hips and your shoulders directly over your wrists.
  2. Keeping the 90-degree bend in your right leg, slowly kick your right heel back and up toward the ceiling with the foot flexed.
  3. Lift your leg as high as you can go without arching your lower back or hunching your shoulders.
  4. Lower your leg back down with control.
  5. Do all your reps on one leg, and then do the same number of reps on the other leg.

Just like the fire hydrant, this mini-band glute exercise is great for core stabilization and shoulder strengthening. To make this exercise easier, ditch the band.

Dumbbell Exercises

"Whether you are advanced or a beginner at working out, dumbbells are easily accessible and super versatile," says Bianca Vesco, CPT, a certified personal trainer and WW Digital 360 coach. And when it comes to training your glutes, they are an easy way to add load. Plus, they force you to recruit your core to stabilize your body, particularly when doing squats, deadlifts and weighted bridges.

Vesco shares eight of the best dumbbell glute exercises below.

Move 1: Dumbbell Rack Squat

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Hold a pair of dumbbells and bend your arms so that the weights rest in front of your shoulders.
  2. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Descend as far as you comfortably can without lifting your heels from the floor.
  3. Drive through your heels to return to the standing position.

Move 2: Dumbbell Reverse Lunge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms at your sides.
  2. Take a big step back with your right foot, and bend your knees as far as comfortable or until it's parallel to the ground and your back knee is hovering about an inch above the ground.
  3. Drive through your left foot (the front foot) to stand back up and bring your right foot to meet it in the starting position.
  4. Do all your reps on one leg and then repeat on the other; or, alternate legs with each rep.

During a reverse lunge, think about tilting your torso forward while keeping your back flat and core engaged. During a lunge, your spinal positioning dictates what muscle you will load, Vesco says.

“A more upright spine will load your quads while a slight hinge forward will load your glutes,” she says.

Move 3: Dumbbell Lateral Lunge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet together and hold a dumbbell at your chest with one hand on each end.
  2. From standing, root your right foot into the ground and take a big step with your left foot to the side.
  3. Bend your left knee, keeping it in line with your left foot. Your right leg should be extended straight to the side. Make sure your toes on both feet are facing forward.
  4. Push off your left leg and return to standing.
  5. Do all your reps on the left leg before doing the same number of reps on the right leg.

The lateral movement works both the inner and outer parts of your leg, Vesco says, including your hip abductors and adductors.

Move 4: Dumbbell Split Squat

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Get in a split stance with one foot about three feet in front of the other. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms hanging by your sides.
  2. Bend both knees until your front thigh is parallel with the floor, stacking your knee over the ankle. Lower your back knee until it hovers above the floor or as far as you can comfortably go, allowing the heel to rise up. Remember to keep your hip stacked over the knee.
  3. Press through your front foot to stand back up to the starting position.
  4. Do all your reps on one leg, then switch and repeat on the other leg.

Because your feet stay in place during a split squat, there’s less of a stability challenge. This means there’s a good chance you’ll be able to lift more weight doing this exercise versus a forward or reverse lunge.

Move 5: Single-Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand by your sides.
  2. With your core tight and a slight bend in your right knee, send your hips back and lift your left leg straight behind you.
  3. At the same time, lower both dumbbells toward the ground, keeping the weight relatively close to your body. Keep your core tight and your spine straight.
  4. Once your torso is parallel to the ground, or as close as your hamstring flexibility allows, pull your hips forward and reverse the motion to return to standing.
  5. Do all your reps on one leg, and then repeat on the other leg.

This unilateral deadlift variation helps recruit smaller stabilizer muscles in your glutes, such as the hip abductors and adductors (muscles that move the legs away from and toward the midline), Vesco says.

Move 6: Dumbbell Sumo Deadlift

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart and your feet turned out at 45 degrees.
  2. Let your arms hang directly in front of you between your legs, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  3. Bend your knees to lower yourself down into a squat. Keep your chest up, back flat and knees in line with your toes. The weights should almost touch the floor.
  4. Pause for a second at the bottom, then press through your heels and pull your hips forward, squeezing your glutes tightly to return to the starting position.

A sumo deadlift hits the muscle on your outer glutes, called the gluteus medius, Vesco says.

Move 7: Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your thighs.
  2. Keeping your core tight, hinge your torso forward and push your butt back as far as possible. Allow your knees to bend slightly so that they aren't locked out, but you want to keep them relatively straight throughout the movement.
  3. At the same time, lower both dumbbells toward the ground, keeping the weight close to your body. Keep your core tight and your spine straight.
  4. Once your torso is parallel to the ground, or as close as your hamstring flexibility allows, pull your hips forward and reverse the motion to return to standing.

To do a Romanian deadlift, you’ll want to keep your knees mostly straight, with just a gentle bend so that they aren’t locked out. This puts a larger emphasis on the hamstrings.

Move 8: Dumbbell Glute Bridge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level All Levels
Activity Dumbbell Workout
  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the ground and knees bent. Place a dumbbell in each hip crease and hold them by the bar in the middle or on one end.
  2. Brace your core and squeeze your glutes, and then press into your heels to drive your hips up toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from knees to hips to the chest.
  3. Pause here for a moment, continuing to squeeze your glutes.
  4. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.

The dumbbell glute bridge targets the gluteus maximus, Vesco says, and is the basis of many of the best glute exercises.

If you want to change it up, try one of these glute bridge variations that work the body in slightly different ways.

Kettlebell Exercises

Chelsy Pillsbury, CPT, certified trainer and founder of Hypefit Method, loves kettlebells because they're "dynamic, cost-effective, and really fun to master."

They're also great for targeting the glutes. "You can do slow strength work for your glutes with a single kettlebell (goblet or sumo squats) and then pair those with faster power work (swings) for the ultimate glute growth package," she says.

Below, Pillsbury demos five of the best glute exercises you can do with a kettlebell.

Move 1: Kettlebell Swing

Skill Level Advanced
Activity Kettlebell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a kettlebell a few feet in front of you, so you form a triangle with the kettlebell and your feet on the ground.
  2. Push your hips back and grab onto the kettlebell handle with both hands.
  3. Pushing your hip back and keeping your back flat, tilt then "hike" the kettlebell back between your legs.
  4. As you straighten your legs to stand, use power from your hips to swing the kettlebell out in front of you and up to chest height.
  5. Using the bell's momentum, swing the weight back between your legs and under your hips as you simultaneously sink into your hips and bend your knees. Keep your core braced and back flat the entire time.

“This movement is about power and can be such a game-changer for your glutes when done with intention and proper form,” Pillsbury says. Start in a “hike” position — when your hips are loaded — so that you’re set up for success and are not at risk of lifting with your lower back.

Move 2: Kettlebell Sumo Squat

Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Kettlebell Workout
  1. Stand with a kettlebell on the ground in between your legs, feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Keeping your back straight, push your hips back and bend your knees to squat down. Lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor (or as low as you can go).
  3. Grab onto the kettlebell handles.
  4. Drive through your feet to return to a standing position. Keep your arms relaxed so that the kettlebell hangs in between your legs.
  5. Squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.

Pillsbury calls the sumo squat, “undeniably one of the greatest and safest ways to lift heavy through your glutes.” The wide stance targets your glute maximus and works your inner thighs and quads.

Move 3: Kettlebell Goblet Squat

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Kettlebell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, core tight. Hold a kettlebell at your chest in the goblet position.
  2. Bend your knees and hinge slightly at the hips to lower yourself into a squat. Go as far as you can without tipping your torso forward or raising your heels off the floor.
  3. Drive through your heels to return to the standing position.

Goblet squats really hammer the glutes, and are sneaky on the abs, too, Pillsbury says. You can hold onto the kettlebell by the handles, but she recommends holding it this way (by the bell) because it makes it easier to hold it closer to the chest and takes some of the work out of the arms.

Move 4: Kettlebell Isometric Squat Lateral Tap

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Kettlebell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet just a few inches apart, holding a kettlebell upside down (goblet position) at your chest.
  2. Bend your knees and sit your butt back so that you’re in a quarter squat.
  3. Without coming out of the squat on your left leg, tap your right leg out to the right side, straightening the leg as much as you can.
  4. Bring the right leg back to the starting position. Then, do the same tap-out movement with the left leg.
  5. Continue alternating legs for all your reps.

Like all lateral movements, this glute exercise will make you feel the burn in the outer hips. “Start in a slightly narrow squat and then focus on keeping your heel and toes down on the foot that’s centered,” Pillsbury says. “You can also add a band around your thighs for a 360-degree glute burn!”

Move 5: Kettlebell Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Intermediate
Activity Kettlebell Workout
  1. Stand with a kettlebell in your right hand, feet planted about hip-width apart.
  2. Bracing your core, hinge your torso forward as you raise your right leg behind you, maintaining a soft bend in your left knee. Think about pushing your left butt cheek back behind you as your torso moves forward.
  3. At the same time, lower the kettlebell toward the ground, keeping the weight relatively close to the body, back flat.
  4. Once your torso is parallel to the ground, or as close as your hamstring flexibility allows, push your hips forward and reverse the motion to return to standing.
  5. Do all your reps on one side, then repeat on the other side.

In addition to working the glutes, this move trains the hamstrings, which are muscles vital for creating (literally) well-rounded backsides, Pillsbury says.

Tip

Point the toes of the leg that’s lifting toward the heel of the planted foot to help keep your hips square. “Aim to feel your hamstrings and really dig your hips back,” Pillsbury adds.

Barbell Exercises

"Barbells are incredible tools because they're stable, low impact, easily progressed with plates and very dynamic," Pillsbury says. Progress to these glute exercises once you've mastered the other sections' moves. All of the exercises here are advanced progressions of fundamental movement patterns like the deadlift, squat, lunge and hip thrust.

Here are six of the best glute exercises that you can do with a barbell.

Move 1: Conventional Barbell Deadlift

Skill Level Advanced
Activity Barbell Workout
  1. Stand behind a barbell with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. With your core tight, hinge your torso forward and push your glutes back as far as possible. You can let your knees bend slightly so that they aren't locked out, but you want to keep them relatively straight throughout the movement.
  3. Grab the barbell with both hands, palms facing down.
  4. Sink your hips down, flatten your back, pack your shoulders down and push through your feet to stand back up and lift the bar off the floor.
  5. Hinge your torso forward and push your glutes back to lower the weight back down to the floor.

The deadlift not only works your glutes, but it hammers your hamstrings — hard. “Hamstrings and glutes have a special bond, so it’s vital and smart to train both for maximum results,” Pillsbury says.

Tip

Grip the bar with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you). Think about “breaking the bar in half” by pressing your thumbs forward and pulling your pinkies back, Pillsbury says. “It’s a genius way to lock down your shoulders with a solid lat engagement!”

Move 2: Barbell Reverse Lunge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Activity Barbell Workout
  1. Place the bar behind your head, sitting on your trapezius (muscle at the top of your shoulders).
  2. Step with your right leg 3 feet behind you and bend your knees until they form 90-degree angles. Your back knee should hover an inch above the ground and your front thigh should be parallel to the ground.
  3. Drive through your left foot (the front foot) and straighten your leg.
  4. Bring the right leg back to the starting position and stand up.
  5. Repeat the motion with the opposite leg.

“Reverse lunges are potent for your glutes, adductors and quads,” Pillsbury says. “This movement is guaranteed to leave you satisfied and sore and perky through your glutes.” Reverse lunges also tend to be gentler on the knees than forward lunges. As you lunge, keep the majority of your weight in your front foot.

Move 3: Barbell Hip Thrust

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Activity Barbell Workout
  1. Sit on the floor with your mid back (mid to lower shoulder blades) against the edge of a bench or box.
  2. Place your feet on the floor about hip-width apart. Your feet can be slightly angled out, depending on what feels comfortable for you.
  3. Place some sort of pad (squat sponge or Airex pad) on top of your pelvis.
  4. Roll the barbell up your legs and position it on top of the pad at your hip crease. You can also have someone help place the barbell into position once you’re ready.
  5. Squeeze your glutes and push through the heels of your feet to lift your hips and the weight up toward the ceiling. Maintain a neutral head and spine as you lift.
  6. Lock out at the top of the movement by extending the hips and squeezing the glutes more while tucking the tailbone (tilting the pelvis back) between your legs. Shins should be vertical and knees should be neutral or slightly externally rotated.
  7. Slowly lower your hips down until they're hovering above the floor.

Hip thrusts are the ultimate glute exercise because the set-up loads your glutes in just the right way to encourage serious muscle gains. They’re also conducive to using heavy weights, so you can keep loading ‘em up as you get stronger and need more of a challenge.

Move 4: Barbell Glute Bridge

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Activity Barbell Workout
  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the ground at hip-width apart. Your feet should be close enough to your hips that if you reach one hand at a time toward each heel, you can just touch it with your fingertips.
  2. Place some sort of pad (squat sponge or Airex pad) on top of your pelvis.
  3. Roll the barbell up your legs and position it on top of the pad at your hip crease. You can also have someone help place the barbell into position once you’re ready.
  4. Squeeze your glutes and core, and press your heels into the ground to drive your hips up toward the ceiling until you form a diagonal line from your knees to hips to the chest. Resist the urge to arch your lower back as you raise your hips. Focus on keeping your spine in a neutral position throughout.
  5. Pause at the top, then slowly lower your hips back down to the ground.

Pillsbury calls the glute bridge one of the safest and accessible glute exercise out there. “This is the best alternative to hip thrusts for anyone who struggles to find the right position on a bench. Glute bridges right from the floor can be heavy and potent for glutes,” she says.

Tip

If you want to make glute bridges more challenging, try them single-leg with pulses at the top or add a mini band just above the knees.

Move 5: Barbell Sumo Deadlift

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Activity Barbell Workout
  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Point your toes out, between 30 and 45 degrees. Keep your knees slightly bent. The weight should be right in the middle of your legs.
  2. Stick your hips back and hinge forward to grab the barbell below with both hands, using an overhand grip.
  3. Keeping your core tight, push through your heels and pull the bar off the ground until you're standing straight up. Make sure to squeeze your glutes.
  4. Lower it back down to the ground under control with your back flat.

Conventional deadlifts are great for hamstring isolation but spice it up to make it a sumo deadlift, and you’ve got the perfect storm for great glutes and irresistible thighs,” Pillsbury says.

Focus on holding the bar equally in both hands so that it’s coming up all at once and not one side first then the other.

“Lift more with your legs and don’t get into the habit of letting your hips or chest lead you up,” she adds.

Move 6: Barbell Back Squat

JW Player placeholder image
Skill Level Advanced
Activity Barbell Workout
  1. Place the bar behind your head, sitting on your trapezius (muscle at the top of your shoulders). Brace your core.
  2. Grip the bar tightly, including with your thumbs, and bring your elbows down and in toward the body.
  3. Get into a squat stance, which for most people is with your feet hip-width apart, toes slightly turned out.
  4. Press evenly through your feet and sit your hips back and down, allowing your knees to follow the midline of the foot.
  5. Aim to get your thighs parallel to the floor.
  6. Once you’ve reached your deepest range of motion, brace your core and drive through your feet to stand back up.

Loading the squat on your back puts more of the emphasis on your glutes, Pillsbury says. Keep your upper body stable by thinking about flexing your back and wrapping your rib cage tightly around your torso. “If you can lock all that into place, it’ll help you track straight down without moving too much through your spine,” she says.

Advertisement